• Report: #16833

Complaint Review: Options Talent Group

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  • Submitted: Fri, March 15, 2002
  • Updated: Sun, July 04, 2004

  • Reported By:mequon wi
Options Talent Group
Www.optiontalent.com Orlando, Florida U.S.A.

Options Talent Group - formerly eModels ..up to the same old SCAM ripoff 50+ offices in USA & others worldwide Orlando *Pictures key players *EDitor's Comment

*UPDATE Employee: ????? How is it a rip off if you are notified of everything up front?

*UPDATE Employee: Just some thoughts

*Consumer Comment: LESSONS ABOUT AGENCIES

*UPDATE EX-employee responds: They've changed their name yet AGAIN!! ..Trans Continental Talent

*0: EDitor's Response to the Options Talent Shill:

*Consumer Comment: This eModel Talent Scout can't think his way out of a paper bag!

*Consumer Comment: Please provide your sources when voicing a complaint

*UPDATE EX-employee responds: Misinformation

*0: Oops!

*0: ...the same old schpiel about the great opportunities

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Cortes Randell Options talent top executive
Cort Randell is still in charge of ALL the money with the company, he make all the decisions and anything money related has to go through him. He is now listed as a "contractor" so he has limited libility.


Alec DeFrawy aka "the Egyptian" - central figure in this scam

Well everyone, the owners of eModels are up to it again, only under a new name - Options Talent Group (in 50+ US locations and int'l locations) They give the same old schpiel about the great opportunities for scouts, as well as the justifications for screwing potential model out of $495 and another $19.95 per/month.

The meeting was like a cattle-call. 30 people for 15 positions. At the end of the meeting we had to wait in line to have a one-on-one interview with her, where she'd let us know whether or not we'd been hired. Funny - how could she start to hire people before she'd had the chance to meet everyone first? Plus, they hold interviews every week. All in all, it was very shady from the start. The office was empty - no other employees, spotless offices with furniture but no personal belongings, and framed pictures of magazine ads.

At the Model Scout meeting, they said Options bought out eModels...however, according to the stock profile on Yahoo! Finance, it is the same company, only under a new name (it also mentions how the company is in trouble for insider trading). So all in all, its the same old dirty business - only with a new name. Their practices are IDENTICAL to those of eModels.

Someone at the meeting mentioned the connection to eModels and the bad publicity and the Office Manager told us it was because of jealous competition - HA! The Office Manager was even a fraud....very good looking, very cut-throat. She claims that she's from Oklahoma (hmmm....she had no accent whatsoever), and is not only a Options employee, but also a client! She even boasted about how she was an Electrical Engineer, but decided to jump into this oh-so-wonderful business.

So before you think about endevoring into this shallow field, please take a look at all the complaints eModels has had. Check out the Better Business Bureau too for a good laugh.

Margaux
Mequon, Wisconsin

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 03/15/2002 12:00 AM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/Options-Talent-Group/Orlando-Florida/Options-Talent-Group-formerly-eModels-up-to-the-same-old-SCAM-ripoff-50-offices-in-US-16833. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.

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REBUTTALS & REPLIES:
0Author 10Consumer 0Employee/Owner
Updates & Rebuttals

#1 UPDATE Employee

????? How is it a rip off if you are notified of everything up front?

AUTHOR: Ali F - (U.S.A.)

I have been reading all the supposed "Allegations" of the Options and Trans Con business practices and I am questioning the ethics these complainers have. TC Talent is a business and they are providing a service to people. In any normal situation you would be paying for the services rendered, if you were not happy with the service provided you can try to get a refund. TC Talent does all that.

You go in learn about the company, how they work, you are notified of the charges for the service, and you have no obligation to pay for ANYTHING!

You get a call back to be told if you meet industry requirements and if not thanks your beautiful have a great day, if you do, and you want to work with them, you need to pay for the service they can provide. No one is left in the dark. NOTHING is left out so the consumer is made unaware of any hidden costs or fees. Where is the scam???

If you use a bank that charges checking and usage fees, do you call it a scam? No, you are made aware of it prior to you signing up with them. If you choose to do it you are making an educated decision. RIGHT.



Ya there may be ways to become a model cheaper, but only in a very few (I mean like 10 in the history of Hollywood/Fasion) occaisions has someone just been found right off the street and made it to the "BIG TIME". It just doesn't happen like that. You will have to pay something, always in this industry. If you sign on with an agency, the agency takes a cut from your checks, of course the percentage varies. But they are still taking their share. Also if you do get the jobs, whose to say that in time you will not actually be paying the agency more than you would TC Talent? Also the agency is not going to pay for your comp cards Which you will Have to have, its your resume. You think the agencies are going to provide you with that and all the costs involved in that? No way! No more than a temp service will put your resume together for you for a regluar job. Half the Temp and staffing firms I know will not even see you or look for employment for you if they haven't seen your resume. You have to take care of that and provide the agency(s) with that yourself.



I guess I do not understand where the scam is. It seems pretty cut and dry if you ask me and on top of it, if it was such a scam, how can their models be getting 100,000 - 150,000 requests per month? If it was such a ramshackle opperation, why are they so well renound? Why do they have so many of their models in the top 20 finalist of the LA Model Search, which if you know anything about the modeling industry is the Biggest model search in the country. Looks to me like they are doing a whole lot of something for the money they receive.



I look at it as an investment. There is never a garentee in this industry. I personnally think that people are upset because for whatever reason they were not requested and now they are mad. So what better to do than make the company look like a slimy greedy bunch of leeches. When really they aren't.
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#2 UPDATE Employee

Just some thoughts

AUTHOR: Bill - ()

This just a response to one of the comments above. I didn't even pay attention to who made the comment but someone in rebuttal said that when Options bought Emodel the people from Castnet and Emodel were fired. HA! That is a real joke. No one was fired. The same people who started Studio 58 (even before then if you really do some research--I will explain that in a minute) which became Emodel then was bought by Options Talent Group are still there and have been all along. Even now with the Trans Con merger they are still there. Alec DeFrawy, aka the Egyptian, is still there and until recently so was Dave Elliott. The both them were part of the former scams and were prosecuted for bank fraud among other charges. Both plead to it in 1995 with Elliott serving time. Cort Randell is still there and look up his history. Tom Weinard and others have all been involved with Studio 58 through the current name. None of the key players have EVER changed with this company.



Just thought I would clear that up!
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#3 Consumer Comment

LESSONS ABOUT AGENCIES

AUTHOR: Shannon - ()

Actually, Tran Continental is a real company that did buy out "Options Talent" and this is a real merger. The only problem is that Trans-Con is run by Lou Pearlman (who discovered the Back Street Boys, N-Sync, Brittany Spears, etc.)and Lou is a NOTORIOUS rip-off artist. Living and working in the legitimate tv/film industry for 12 years in Orlando, I have had the (dis)pleasure of

hearing about his shady business practices for years. Having been a REAL casting agent/talent scout going on 12 years I am worried that now more people will be ripped off by this company.



It charges talent outrageous fees for a service that is ususally free to them everywhere else.



These agencies are not regulated and can therefore charge anything they want. If you want to be an actor or model, you can get an agent without $$$.



You should only have to pay them a 10%-20% commission AFTER you get paid for a job. If you're so good at looking up the facts about bogus companies, then it should be no problem to do a little research on how easy it is to get into the industry without money down or upfront. BEWARE.
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#4 UPDATE EX-employee responds

They've changed their name yet AGAIN!! ..Trans Continental Talent

AUTHOR: Bridget - ()

I am still on Options' mass e-mail list and received an e-mail from the corporate office in Orlando three days ago that Options has "Merged" with a company called Trans Continental Talent.I believe this is not a real merger but just another name change to keep people ignorant.

So BEWARE TRANS CONTINENTAL TALENT. Their website is www.tctalent.com and they are the same people, same company.
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#5 0

EDitor's Response to the Options Talent Shill:

AUTHOR: - ()

There is so much wrong with this employee response, that we really must correct the record. If the degree of untruthfulness of this scout? (or presidential surrogate?) is any indication of what victims can expect to encounter; buyer be very wary!



I had spoken with the president of this company and had expected some other information, but received this instead. As for the sob story about their employee shelling out their hard earned cash to post rebuttals, that just ain't true. To date, we have not collected a dime for rebuttals from anyone.



By way of explanation, do you think that it is fair that the company that victimizes its customers should be allowed to further victimize them by posting some diversionary message, further delaying the process. In our experience, disreputable companies just post BS messages repeatedly. This message was not properly received and the only reason we let this one go is to let you know how stupid they are.



EDitor@ripoffreport.com
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#6 Consumer Comment

This eModel Talent Scout can't think his way out of a paper bag!

AUTHOR: Bill - ()

First, I would just like to say that you are totally in the right field, because you have no thinking ability at all. You stake the reputation of your company on the "Yahoo Stock Profile." What is the relevance of that comment? I can't figure that out at all.



I just have a couple of questions to illustrate a counter to that illustration: What did the "Yahoo Stock Profile" say about Enron one year ago today; or about MCI WorldCom on January 10, 2002? What did the FTC and the SEC have to say about them at that time? (I happen to know the answer to this question. I only ask it so you can go research the answer and hopefully get an education, a la Socrates.)



Just because there is a paucity of information, that does not give you the right to jump to the conclusion that they are clean, maybe they are just very sneaky. You hone in on only one news story. Why do you avoid the national broadcast news stories over the past two years? And don't even get me started on the BBB racketeering. How can you use them as a source of reliable information when they receive money from the companies they evaluate. Can that process possibly be unbiased? In short, your diatribe

simply moves from one fallacy to another without presenting any valid argument.



I have done basically this same scam you are involved in, Talent Scouting, but for Erikson Agency in Vienna, Virginia. It was so successful that it was picked up by the media and investigated by the major news magazines. I finally understood how scummy the operation was and had to get out. When I showered I never felt clean. It has that affect on those with a conscience.



So when the same modus operandi pop up with eModels, thats why the media was all over that operation. In fact, why don't you check to see who the people were who orchestrated the scam for Erikson and I'll bet you will see some of the same faces at eModels/Options. Facts, you want fact? Then why do you carefully and gingerly tip-toe around them?



As to the rest of your comments, they just aren't worth responding to. You have demonstrated a lack of intellectual integrity and I just don't think

you have fooled anyone.
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#7 Consumer Comment

Please provide your sources when voicing a complaint

AUTHOR: Cory - ()

I am an Options scout and am somewhat concerned because of all the bad feedback posted on this board. But I do have a few requests for people posting complaints about Options.



Don't just make outrageous comments, back up your statements with facts. If you quote or refer to a news article, give us a link to that news article.



In this particular complaint, someone claimed that eModels (and subsequently Options) are being investigated for insider trading and that this was stated in their "Yahoo Stock Profile". I'm a very web-savvy individual, but I was unable to locate anything even remotely resembling this information on the Yahoo stock information listed for Options. Furthermore, I went directly to the SEC website (http://www.sec.gov) and searched for Options Talent. No documents were found...nada, zip, zilch. There was nothing on either the SEC website or the FTC website (http://www.ftc.gov ...which I also checked) to substantiate these claims. You can achieve the same lack of search results I did by going to both of those websites and entering "Options Talent" in their website search boxes located on their homepages. You will see that neither of these orgnaizations has any public information available regarding any kind of investigation into Options.



Furthermore, if you do some independent searching on the Internet, you'll find that the negative complaints against Options fall under exactly two categories:



1. People posting messages to an online message forum such as this one where the only requirement for getting your complaint posted is registering with the site/forum.



2. The consumer investigations led by Randy Travis of the local Fox station in Atlanta, as well as one in San Francisco and a few other locations.



While I can't speak at all to the validity (or potential lack thereof) of TV consumer investigators located elsewhere in the country, as an Atlanta resident I can say a few things about Randy Travis. Fox 5 Atlanta is the single worst local TV news organization in Atlanta. They have damaged their credibility by sensationalistic reporting tactics, and have a great fondness for reporting outlandish things without backing them up with facts.



Randy Travis in particular, if you read his report (which is located here: http://www.fox5atlanta.com/iteam/options.html), makes great use of sensational statements but doesn't back up his sources. Those of you who don't live in Atlanta may not be aware of Clark Howard, Randy's contemporary. Clark Howard is a nationally syndicated talk-radio host who also works for the ABC Atlanta afiliate, WSB. He is substantially more credible than Randy Travis and has an entire organization behind dedicated to consumer advice. Contrary to Travis, Howard does not employ the word "scam" until he has personally conducted a full investigation. He will not refer to a company on air or on his website until he has personally contacted that company and attempted to verify and resolve the dispute. If you go to www.clarkhoward.com, you can search his site and even search his message board, and you will find absolutely zero mention of Options Talent. I'm an avid listener of Clark Howard and stay well-tuned to scams, but I've never heard him make mention of Options. His audience is in the millions, but yet not one single person in the entire country that listens to his show or visits his website has ever posted anything negative about Options Talent.



Furthermore...if you go to the Better Business Bureau's website (which we all know is somewhat questionable in their reporting tactics) and do a general search for Options Talent, you can read individual reports on each of the offices around the country. If you do this, you will find that the majority of those reports state no complaints have been filed, and those that do show complaints filed, the complaints have been less than 10. The most complaints for a single office location I've found yet, is for the Atlanta office, which was 6. All 6 were closed, 4 of which were closed under the circumstances that the dispute was either resolved or the company made every reasonable effort to resolve. Only 2 of those 6 were listed as "company did not respond". Being that we know absolutely nothing of the nature of those complaints, I don't think we can say much about what that number 2 means.



Beyond all that is the practice of this message board in particular. The Rip-Off Report and their parent the Bad Business Bureau claim to be consumer advocates. I decided I wanted to respond to this particular message and found something V-E-R-Y interesting...



As I went through the registration process, I indicated that I am a current employee of the company being reported. I then got a pop-up window explaining the "rebuttal policy" of this site.



Did you know that Rip-Off Report CHARGES companies to post a REBUTTAL to a consumer complaint? How does this website verify the validity of the complaints filed, and what POSSIBLE justification could the owners (sorry, "editors") of this site have for charging TWENTY-DOLLARS per rebuttal? They say it's only after you've posted 4 rebuttals, they begin charging you with the 5th. But those 4 are not counted on the individual doing the posting...they're counted on the number of times a particular company has been represented in rebuttal posts. It dismays me that other Options employees felt so impassioned by the complaints filed against their company, they had to personally pay $20 out of their own pockets to defend the company against this website. I personally do not think it's worth $20 of my personal funds to rebut the ridiculous statements made on this board, so I opted to post as a "consumer comment".



Rip-Off Report is indeed an appropriate name for this site. I'm just wondering when they'll get around to reporting themselves. Of course, since these posts are edited, I do not in any way expect to see this paragraph or any part of my post appear on this website.
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#8 UPDATE EX-employee responds

Misinformation

AUTHOR: Michelle - ()

I think it's really interesting that you're bringing up DRAMA that was resolved a long time ago!



BUT YOU'RE WRONG!!!! jesus, am I the only one who will actually do 30 seconds of research before I start crying like a little baby. people- call a freakin stockbroker or go online- sector communications-founded 1983-nevada, went public 1990, purchased castnet.com,emodel.com,and other domain names and smaller firms early this year (2002), changed its name to options talent group, inc. to reflect its new purchases in the entertainment field.



none of the officers of emodel or castnet are officers in Options- apparently the castnet people were all fired from the LA office, and according to interview with Options president, they will be 'reviewing' the former emodel staff.



READ PEOPLE OR WE ALL LOOK LIKE A BUNCH OF IDIOTS.



so castnet, emodel and the other companies they bought all are under one umbrella, optionstalent.com website, with the business name being options talent, inc. (options talent group-formerly sector- being the parent company).



kinda like General Electric owning NBC- no dummy- NBC didn't cease to exist, it got purchased. Just like aol bought time/warner. so all of us emodel models who paid our 4 or 500 bucks to emodel are now on the optionstalent.com website.



hope that clears it up
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#9 0

Oops!

AUTHOR: - ()

Oops....the correct email address is www.optionstalent.com



but i tried it today and it won;t work! it did the day before me interview......hmmmm.....
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#10 0

...the same old schpiel about the great opportunities

AUTHOR: - ()

Well everyone, the owners of eModels are up to it again, only under a new name - Options Talent Group (in 50+ US locations and int'l locations) They give the same old schpiel about the great opportunities for scouts, as well as the justifications for screwing potential model out of $495 and another $19.95 per/month.



The meeting was like a cattle-call. 30 people for 15 positions. At the end of the meeting we had to wait in line to have a one-on-one interview with her, where she'd let us know whether or not we'd been hired. Funny - how could she start to hire people before she'd had the chance to meet everyone first? Plus, they hold interviews every week. All in all, it was very shady from the start. The office was empty - no other employees, spotless offices with furniture but no personal belongings, and framed pictures of magazine ads.



At the Model Scout meeting, they said Options bought out eModels...however, according to the

stock profile on Yahoo! Finance, it is the same company, only under a new name (it also mentions how the company is in trouble for insider trading). So all in all, its the same old dirty business - only with a new name. Their practices are IDENTICAL to those of eModels.



Someone at the meeting mentioned the connection to eModels and the bad publicity and the Office Manager told us it was because of jealous competition - HA! The Office Manager was even a fraud....very good looking, very cut-throat. She claims that she's from Oklahoma (hmmm....she had no accent whatsoever), and is not only a Options employee, but also a client! She even boasted about how she was an Electrical Engineer, but decided to jump into this oh-so-wonderful business.



So before you think about endevoring into this shallow field, please take a look at all the complaints eModels has had. Check out the Better Business Bureau too for a good laugh.
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